Let’s play 20 Questions! Take the following simple diagnostic test to see if you are an Imaginative Conservative or something else. Or better yet, try it on your friends so you’ll know whether to pay for the next round of drinks or hail a taxi.
Answers, scored at the bottom, are the author’s interpretations and do not necessarily represent the official policies of this website or the views of Russell Kirk, Edmund Burke, Christopher Dawson, Irving Babbitt, C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, T. S. Eliot, Alexis de Tocqueville, Saint Augustine of Hippo, John Adams or Almighty God. But they might. Choose one answer for each:
1) Greed is:
(a) A selfish misperception to be inevitably overcome by historical forces;
(b) A social problem for government, worsened by commercialisation;
(c) Good, maligned by those who misunderstand the dynamics of capitalism;
(d) Bad among Democrats, good among Republicans;
(e) A sin to be opposed by every person, family, and generation.
2) My idea of entertainment is:
(a) Attending an Occupy protest and getting arrested;
(b) The new Miley Cyrus video on Millennium Development Goals;
(c) Re-reading an Ayn Rand novel for the eighth time;
(d) Watching American troops invade foreign countries;
(e) Fairy tales and old or new myth in books, comics, and film.
3) I aspire to know more about:
(a) Bakunin and Antonio Gramsci;
(b) John Dewey and Eleanor Roosevelt;
(c) Bakunin and David Friedman;
(d) Machiavelli and Teddy Roosevelt;
(e) G. K. Chesterton and George MacDonald.
4) Is there an enduring moral order?
(a) Yes, unfolding through history via the dialectical process;
(b) No, it changes according to our needs and values;
(c) No, it is unique for every individual;
(d) Possibly, with America’s global enforcement;
(e) Yes, shown by reason, culture, history, and divine revelation.
5) Ideology is:
(a) A necessary codification of class consciousness;
(b) A necessary codification of Progressive values;
(c) A necessary codification of consistent rights and liberty;
(d) A necessary codification of national priorities;
(e) What simpletons crave when too lazy to read or think.
6) I’d rather bequeath to my grandchild:
(a) A classless world of true equality;
(b) Appreciation of diversity and social engagement;
(c) A fortune in bullion offshore;
(d) A global empire of American greatness;
(e) My handmade wooden chair and skill to build another.
7) Milton’s Paradise Lost is:
(a) 17th Century religious brainwashing and class oppression;
(b) A seminal text to be deconstructed by its period and intentions;
(c) Irrelevant, of no practical use to me;
(d) Good to cite defending Western Civilisation, bad to read;
(e) Good, but not as great as Dante’s Divine Comedy.
8) God is:
(a) A delusion, the opiate of the masses;
(b) A delusion, but religion can build social commitment;
(c) Authoritarian, so no help to liberty or my net worth;
(d) The American flag personified in all His wrath;
9) What is the role of order in society?
(a) Oppression unless directed by the proletariat;
(b) A helpful precondition for social uplift and improvement;
(c) Oppression unless spontaneous through a free market;
(d) Essential in airports;
(e) The starting point and core of any civilization.
10) Among beverages I prefer:
(a) Stolichnaya vodka or tap-water;
(b) Fair-trade organic herbal tea;
(c) Red Bull;
(d) No wine from France;
(e) Vintage port or brandy after supper.
11) The purpose of art is to:
(a) Reflect class interests;
(b) Challenge preconceptions with innovation;
(c) Make money;
(d) Build national respect for authority;
(e) Ennoble the spirit of Man made in God’s image.
12) I prefer to hear:
(a) People newly aware of their exploitation;
(b) Backward opinions silenced;
(c) Investment tips in precious metals;
(d) Backward opinions silenced;
13) Human perfection is:
(a) Inevitable via scientific progress and Hegelian synthesis:
(b) Slow but possible if government and civil society work together;
(c) Nobody’s business apart from each individual’s;
(d) Nearly present among we American intellectual elites;
(e) A bad joke, impossible while we live as mortals.
14) I get excited by:
(a) Enlightened protest or even revolution;
(b) Social engagement and positive statistics;
(c) My monthly bank statement;
(d) Speeches, flags and military parades;
(e) Log fires and hot cocoa.
15) Community is:
(a) A false construct of the petit bourgeoisie;
(b) Essential to inform, mobilise and effect change;
(e) Third in importance behind Faith and Family.
16) “Little platoons” are:
(a) Secret police from the existing order;
(b) Right-thinking minorities challenging intolerance;
(d) Parts of larger invasionary forces;
(e) Burke’s traditionalist communities.
17) When I look at a Renaissance painting, I wonder:
(a) What it cost the exploited toiling classes;
(b) Can it help boost equality and minority empowerment;
(c) What it cost and could I steal it when nobody’s looking;
(d) What it costs to paint in a big American flag;
(e) Could we create something as timeless, virtuous, and inspirational?
18) My ideal garment is:
(a) Black, revolutionary and utilitarian;
(b) Gray and dependably inoffensive;
(c) Flamboyant, costly, and individualistic;
(d) A uniform;
(e) Could you repeat the question? I was reading.
19) Which is true:
(a) In 1877 Prof. B. Birzer of Mannheim translated Das Kapital into Czech;
(b) In 1488 Swiss pastor B. Frohnen was burnt for defending gay marriage;
(c) In 1713 Barbados, Winston Elliott’s short-lived anarchist colony collapsed;
(d) In 1908 US Navy Captain John Willson invaded Sumatra;
(e) By 1994 Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind” surpassed 1m copies.
20) The Devil:
(a) Doesn’t exist but otherwise follows Bloomberg financial updates;
(b) Doesn’t exist but otherwise watches Fox News;
(c) Doesn’t exist but otherwise likes MSNBC and The Washington Post;
(d) May exist and is probably an Arab;
(e) Does exist, enjoys all major media but hates moral imagination and curiosity.
21) Bonus Question – Tradition is:
a) A harmful means of oppression;
b) A harmful means of oppression;
c) A harmful means of oppression;
d) A useful means of oppression if redefined selectively;
e) A helpful guide from our Living Past.
Scoring: take two points for each correct (e) answer, and one for any other. Choosing mostly (a) suggests you’re a doctrinaire Marxist and either over age 60 or trying very hard to be retro; (b) denotes a Progressive who probably got here by mistake; (c) a materialist libertarian anarcho-capitalist; and (d) a Neo-con, another kind of false-conservative nationalist or else you had three too many at the VFW hall. If you think you’re a libertarian and chose (e) almost as often as (c), you may be falsely diagnosed and need to seek treatment immediately. A total score below 32 suggests that you need to visit this website more often; higher scores imply that you’ve found your way home already. Score a perfect 42 or want to next time? Visit the The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore and buy a well-deserved treat for yourself or a loved one!